knowing your worth – i know mine, thanks to my dad

I’m a writer.  I always have been.  I get to do a lot of writing for a living, which is pretty cool.  I get to be creative almost every day, and I get paid for it.  I’m very lucky. As a child, I would show my work to my parents.  They would read it, and laugh, or say, “that’s very good.”  i come from a humble family, so it usually didn’t go much further than that.  In fact, sometimes my dad would say, “Did you actually write this?  From your own head?  You didn’t copy it from somewhere?”  And I would say, “Yes, Dad, it’s from my own head.”  I think he was mostly joking about that, but he just didn’t want me to think i was better than i was, or something.  But his next question would always be, for as long as i can remember, “where’s your name?  where does it say that you did this?

Not a lot of my work has my name on it for some reason.  I’m not really sure why.  It could be that i never asked for a byline.  Like I said, I was raised to know that although I am talented, someone else is always going to be more so.  Besides, I work in the charitable sector, where the majority of things come together collaboratively and bylines are simply not part of the culture.  and I’ve always felt that asking to be credited would be pretentious.  Even now, when I get recognized in a meeting for something i’ve done, my first reaction is “it was a team effort, don’t look at me, we collaborated on this!”  Anyway, I’ve explained as much to my dad, and he just shakes his head. “You should get credit for what you’ve done,” he always says.  ”You should ask for it.  You should know your worth.”

I wrote a rather large novella of sorts last year and for the first time, upon recommendation from another colleague and my dad’s advice, I asked for my name to included in the document as the writer.  I received copies of this project and sure enough, in the back, in rather small type, it says i wrote it.  and i have to admit, it feels pretty good whenever i look at it.  It’s a good piece of work.  I know it is.

So I guess the point I’m trying to make with this post is that my dad, in addition to driving me insane, up the wall and crazy (sometimes all at once), wants me to be proud of the things i create. He's proud, in his own way, and now I know that whenever he asked why my name isn’t on something, it’s because he wants me to know my worth.  He wants me to know i’m good.  And now i do.

Why do you think women feel like taking all the credit is wrong or inaccurate?  Why are men so quick to ask for it?  Do you “know your worth”?